Smashing the Orange Peel

Almost as big as the buzz about the Smashing Pumpkins reunion and tour is the rumble (make that grumble) about the sold-out Orange Peel shows, to which few local fans were able to score tickets. In a post on the Xpress Web site, on May 21 Steve Shanafelt gave the club’s owners an opportunity to explain why previously scheduled bands were cancelled to make room for the Pumpkins’ nine-show residency. Orange Peel owner Pat Whalen also talked about how the frenzy for tickets crashed the online sales service TicketWeb.

“The demand for tickets was huge,” said Whalen. “We’ve heard from people as far away as Europe looking to catch one of these shows.”

The club switched to a different ticket service, but the tix sold out so fast that many local Pumpkins fans were left ticket-less and disgruntled—and they started to sound off on the Xpress’ Web site as well. “Yep, I was online at 6:59 and clicked right away for tickets. [Editor’s note: The tickets went on sale at 7 p.m.] Didn’t get any,” wrote “Avanai.” “Really upset that The Orange Peel didn’t set aside tickets for the locals. I’ve lived here for 10 years, I think I should get a ticket. Everyone in Asheville will be sitting on the curb.”

One commenter, “DL,” mused: “The point is this, local[s] got screwed, period. Someone did drop the ball and as consumers, pick your poison about how to vent or demonstrate your ire. I for one, won’t go [to the Orange Peel] for awhile, except [the] Ben Harper [concert] of course.”

But another, “Rizzian,” defended the club: “The Peel opened specifically to provide a quality, sizable venue to downtown and make a good use out of a beautiful, neglected building. Far from ‘monopolizing’ the scene, they actually brought many national acts to town for (gasp!) the locals to enjoy. They still do this today.”

For what it’s worth, Orange Peel manager Liz Whalen told Xpress that the Smashing Pumpkins only allotted 10 comp tickets per show to the venue—not even enough to cover Orange Peel staff.

Despite the ticket hubbub, there seems no shortage of fans for the Smashing Pumpkins, a band hardly famed for being warm and fuzzy (their signature guitar feedback notwithstanding).

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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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